Music and Singing: Recommended for Alzheimer’s
Music appreciation is one of the last abilities to remain in Alzheimer’s patients. Even when many of their other faculties are gone, they often still remember songs and singing and dancing. It is able to stimulate memories and emotions that otherwise stay hidden. Music has also been shown to improve mental performance, singing especially.
Surprisingly, I just noticed it this week with Mom. A local band comes in monthly to play for the residents. They love it! Everyone enjoys the music, their feet tapping and hands clapping. Some will sing along. Some that don’t usually show much expression will smile and sometimes sing.
I came in at the end of their performance to find mom reaching for my hand as though she knew me. She was more alert and much more engaged. It’s fascinating to see the enjoyment of music translate in to something mental or physical.
It was once explained to me that our music memories are ‘stored’ in the top, central part of the brain. That part of the brain tends to be the last to deteriorate. However it works, it is lovely to see.
In one study, it showed that singing would activate the left brain, listening to music would stimulate the right side. Add to that the reaction of the visual part of the brain when watching a performance. Stimulating so many areas of the brain at once ‘exercised’ the brain.
Sometimes too, a few of the residents will dance. It is so much fun for them! Not only is that a delight in itself, it also means touching, hugging, contact that stimulates emotions. Touch often means security as well, so it is an all round win.
When you think of how much the Alzheimer’s patient has lost, think how good it must feel to them to remember. To be able to sing along, to find the tune familiar, even feel emotional memories from a certain song, must be reassuring and comforting to them.
Try the classics favorites like…
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow
- You are my Sunshine
- Folk songs, like She’ll be Coming around the Mountain
- Popular hymns
- Patriotic songs
- Christmas carols
- Songs from movies like Oklahoma, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady
- Think of songs of their youth especially.
Don’t be surprised if their memories bring some tears. They are often happy tears.
It’s been known to ‘awaken’ some who no longer talk or interact. If you check out the video below, you will see what I mean. It’s been shown to relax an upset resident. And as an added bonus, it blocks the sounds of others that might cause upset.
If you want to see it touch the life of an Alzheimer’s patient, I hope you will watch the video below.
Try one of these, if you want to have some fun. Encourage a sing along, and see how happy it makes your loved one.